By: Monique Bucheger
I am preparing to attend one of my favorite writing conferences this week: LDStorymakers in Salt Lake City. I attended the conference in years past as a wanna be author, as a newbie author, and now as an author launching my fourth published book.
Writing conferences are a great way to meet new readers, agents, publishers, and fellow authors. Without exception, I have met all of the above, in addition to making a few new friends.
At the last conference I attended: Superstars Writing Seminars, I learned an important rule about the nitty-gritty part of the writing and publishing business (editing, marketing, formatting, making covers, and other art, etc.): Do what you are good at and want to do … and hire out the rest.
In a time crunch, and not feeling particularly creative, I gave my awesome illustrator—one of our own Emblazoner authors—Mikey Brooks, a quick call. (See the above picture.) He came through for me, as I knew he would.
Mikey put all four covers on the front and then added some other art work to fill in the spaces. On the back he added my contact info and left a big space to write a quick comment and signature.
Some fans want a signature and that’s a good place to add one. Plus, people are less likely to throw away a signed bookmark. (A tip I learned from Tracy Hickman, an internationally best selling fantasy author from last year’s Superstars Seminar.)
You can also add a QR code to direct people to the online site of your choice: like your blog or author FB page.
In addition to the artwork, he suggested that I include a tagline. We brainstormed and came up: Operation Secret Sisters: Two Determined BFFs plus Two Reluctant Parents MIGHT Equal One Happy Family. Taglines give a quick overview of what people might expect in a book or movie. They should include the protagonist(s), a conflict, and an antagonistic presence.
They must also be short. Technically, my tag line is probably a little long at 15 words. Ideally— they should 10 words or less—but coming up with a tagline to do justice for 4 books is even harder than creating a tagline for one book. I decided to use some poetic license and make an exception since it is going on my bookmarks for the entire series.
My first book “The Secret Sisters Club” has been described as “Parent Trap” Meets “An American Girl,” so we decided to play on my main characters’ secret mission in that book: Operation: Secret Sisters. In the following books, the theme of becoming sisters is always a subplot or minor arc, while the girls also navigate through new obstacles and conflicts in their lives that have nothing to do with becoming sisters.
While trying to defeat the biggest bully in 6th grade in book 2: Trouble Blows West and trying to make sense of a “crazy-blast-from-the-past” that puts the girls at odds with one another in book 3: Simply West of Heaven, and dealing with one of the girl’s lousy-excuse-for-a-birth-father in book 4: Being West is Best, both girls come to terms with the sometimes unpleasant reality that their dream of becoming sisters, might actually turn into a nightmare.
However, since they are best friends, they have some great motivation to work through the difficulties to attain their goal of “round-the-clock-girl-talk” and the “ultimate sleepover” that never ends.
Most movies and books now have taglines. For example, the Harry Potter series can be broken down to 7 words: Boy Wizard Battles Evil Dark Lord, Parent Trap could become: Twice the Fun, Double the Trouble. Frozen: The Ice Guy? The Nice Guy? The Snowman or no man? Or Pixar’s Brave: Change Your Fate. I found these on rotoscopers.com.
You can make up your own … and if you are an author, you really should. If you are a reader, it might be a fun challenge to reduce your favorite book or movie to a few words with some of your friends. If you take the challenge, please share. I’d love to hear from you.
Laugh lots, love much, write on!